NTB-17/18-TITPHM - A Study of Titus & Philemon
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TITUS & PHILEMON
Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
To the young evangelist Titus, Paul said, "For this reason, I left you in
Crete that you should set in order the things that are lacking and appoint
elders in every city as I commanded you," Titus 1:5.
Welcome to our study of the books of Titus and Philemon.
Paul is writing to the young evangelist Titus, to give him some very
stern and difficult orders for the church on the island of Crete. "For this
reason I left you in Crete." What is it Paul? "That you would set in order the
things that are lacking and appoint elders in every city."
You know when you think of Titus' job, what a challenge this must've
been for him. What all was lacking? We don't know all the details but from
the book itself we can determine some of those things. When a
congregation is missing elders there is indeed something lacking there.
Every congregation of the Lord's people needs qualified leaders. Leaders
who are concerned about souls, who will shepherd the flock of God, 1
Peter 5. Who are ready to give an account on the Day of Judgment for
souls they've watched over, Hebrews 13:17. They will be there to help and
encourage in time of need.
What do we know about God from the book of Titus? Here is an
encouraging point. Titus 1:2 says, "Christians are living in hope of eternal
life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began." When I think
about what makes Christianity so great, what makes us get up when life
knocks us down; when difficulties come our way- We are living in hope of
eternal life! That's not, ‘well maybe, or my best guess, or let's hope we
make it there’ in the sense we use it. Like we might say, ‘I hope it rains
tomorrow.’ That's not what that is. Hope does not disappoint, Romans 5:1-
5. Hope is assured anticipation. I'm living in hope of eternal life. Here's the
surety of it- Hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised
before time began.
The Bible says it's impossible for God to lie, Hebrews 6:18. God says,
"I am God, I change not." Malachi 3:6. Jesus who was also divine, the Bible
says Jesus Christ ‘is the same yesterday, today and forever,’ Hebrews
13:8. What do I know about the God? God is a constant. God is something
you can always be sure of His nature, His person, and His words. That's
the guarantee of the hope of eternal life. As sure as God is, His truth is, His
nature is, is just as sure as the hope of eternal life.
What's the encouragement? Friend don't stop living the Christian life!
Don't give up. Don't let life knock you down. Don't let sin take hold of you.
Why? You're living in hope of eternal life. "If then you are raised with Christ,
seek those things which are above," Colossians 3:1.
Paul says something very significant about false teachers, and how
their message must be stopped. Look in Titus 1:11. The scripture says, "Of
these false teachers whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole
households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest
gain." What do I know about false teachers? Their message will spread like
wildfire, like cancer. You've got to put a stop to it, before it gets started.
They can subvert whole families the text says. What's that mean? They can
trick a whole family. They can persuade a whole family into believing a lie if
we're not careful. As part of the work of an elder, part of the work of a
gospel preacher, and part of the concern and work of every Christian,
ought to be to stop the mouth of false teachers. How do you do that? By
standing up with the truth, and saying with our mouth what God has said.
We must contend earnestly for the faith. We must buy the truth and sell it
not, Jude 3 and Proverbs 23:23. We need to oppose error with truth in love,
Ephesians 4:15. We need to preach the word, 2 Timothy 4:2. Speak as the
oracles of God, 1 Peter 4:11. As Jesus opposed religious leaders of His
day by showing them from the Old Testament scriptures, the error of their
way, so today, false teachers must be stopped. The way to stop them is
with truth. Truth is powerful, Romans 1:16. The word of God is living and
powerful, Hebrews 4:12. It has the ability, to shine forth, to show error, and
to help people see the way of our God.
One of the practical lessons that Titus points out, is found in Titus
1:16, and what a powerful lesson this is. Did you know you can tell if a
person's faithful by their works or their actions? Notice Titus 1:16, the
scripture says, "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him,
being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." You
can tell by someone's actions whether they are a faithful child of God or
not. If someone's faithful, does that mean they're never going to make
mistakes? That is not what we're saying. We do sin, but if we sin, we're
ready to make it right, 1 John 1:7-10.
However, the person who claims, to be a child of God, but it's only
putting up a facade, putting on a show; you can look at that person's life
and see. Look at their speech. Do they talk like a Christian? Look at where
their priorities are. Is God at the top? Look at how they relate to things of
this world. Do they love the world? Are they involved in abominable,
ungodly, immoral things? If so, then friend I know their life doesn't back up
For me to be faithful to God, I must live true to Him every day. Again,
we're not saying someone's going to be perfect all the time, that's not the
idea. But are we trying to walk in the light? 1 John 1:7. When we find sin in
our life, are we ready to repent and pray that it be forgiven? Acts 8:20-22.
Are we struggling in that battle, fighting the good fight of faith, each and
every day as a Christian ought to?
Now one of the responsibilities that Paul gives to Titus is to make
sure he teaches proper or sound teaching for the church in Crete. Look at
Titus 2:1. The scripture says, Paul speaking, "But as for you, speak the
things which are proper for sound doctrine." Paul says, ‘Yes, there are
people teaching error. Yes, you can look at their life and see that. But Titus,
here's what you need to focus on "as a gospel preacher in the Lord's
church.’ "Speak the things which are proper, for sound doctrine." The word
"sound", in its literal Greek meaning means, "well, or healthy."
Teach things that will help people to grow, 2 Peter 3:18. Teach things
that will build people up in the faith, Acts 20:32. How do we teach what's
proper? Very simply, by teaching this book. Friend how can you go wrong if
you say and teach what this book says? If a man studies the book, 2
Timothy 2:15. If he searches the scriptures daily, Acts 17:11. If he prepares
his heart to seek the law of the Lord to do it, and to teach its statutes and
judgements, Ezra 7:10. If we have the mindset that God's will must come
before our own, then we can teach and preach what's right. Speak as the
oracles of God, 1 Peter 4:11. Preach the Word, 2 Timothy 4:2. Be ready
always to give an answer for the reason the hope that is within you with
meekness and fear, 1 Peter 3:15. If someone asks me a Bible question,
and I instead of saying, ‘I think, or I believe, or I feel,’ I say, "Let's get out
the Bible and see." Friend you just can't go wrong with teaching and
preaching like that. Find sound or healthy doctrine.
Now in the book of Titus, Paul mentions some various commands
given to people of all ages, and although it's a rather lengthy text, I want
you to look at Titus 2:2-10 with me. The scripture says, "The older men be
sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older
women likewise that they may be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not
given to much wine, teachers of good things that they admonish the
younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be
discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands that
the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the younger
men to be sober-minded in all things showing yourself a pattern of good
works; in doctrine, integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that
cannot be condemned that one who is an opponent may be ashamed,
having nothing evil to say of you. Exhort bondservants to be obedient to
their own masters to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not
pilfering, but showing all good fidelity or faithfulness that they may adorn
the doctrine of God our Savior in all things."
Here you've got five different classes. You've got older men, how are
they to be? They are to be looked up to as reverent, as honorable, as wise,
in their behavior, in their actions, and in their speech. What about the older
women? Examples to the younger women-those who are trying to live a
godly life and who are focused on spiritual matters. The younger women
are to look up to them. They are taught to be keepers of the home, to love
their husbands, to be discreet, to be chaste, and to be obedient to their own
husbands. The younger men are to be of integrity, incorruptibility, their
doctrine, their lifestyle, having speech that cannot be condemned, that
even the opponent, when standing up for truth, and they speak the way
they ought to speak. What about bondservants or the employer, employee
relationship? They are to be faithful, not to be lazy. They are to do the will
of God as God would have them to do.
Every class has a responsibility to God and to others. In view of every
class of those people, Paul now turns our attention to the grace of God that
ought to motivate all of us to faithful living for Christ. Look at Titus 2:11-13.
The scripture says, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has
appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age looking for
the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior
Jesus Christ." Look at the wonderful words here! “The grace of God,” watch
what it does, “that brings salvation has appeared to all men.”
Do you remember Ephesians 2:8? By grace are you saved, through
faith that not of yourself, it's the gift of God. Do you remember John 1:17?
The law came through Moses, but grace and truth are in Christ. Grace is in
Christ. Jesus is the epitome of God's grace. You know the grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ. ‘Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became
poor that we through His poverty might be made rich.’ The grace of God
that brings salvation, who did that appear to? To the elect? To just a few?
To a certain group? No. It “has appeared to all men.” God says in Matthew
11:28-30, “Come unto Me, all you who are labor heavy laden.” God wants
all men to be saved, 1 Timothy 2:4. “God is not slow concerning His
promises, that some men count slowest, but His long suffering toward us,”
watch this now, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come
to repentance.” That marvelous grace of God brings salvation. It's
appeared to all men. Did you know that grace is a teacher or an instructor?
Teaching us in view of what God's grace brought, in view of what Jesus
did, the grace of God teaches us, denying ungodliness, worldly lust. We
should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age. What does
grace teach me to do? Grace is not a license to sin. Paul said in Romans
6:1, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Grace was given to
deal with the same problem. Does that mean we can keep sinning more
and more and getting? No. Certainly not. God forbid. Romans 6:1-2, ‘How
shall you who died the sin live any longer in it?’
Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust, and to live
soberly, righteously, and godly. Grace teaches me to deny myself, to deny
what I want, to realize that life's not about me, to say no to the flesh, to say
no to Satan, to say no to temptation in view of the grace of God. Why would
you ever want to give in to sin? It teaches me how to live. Not only do I
deny I live soberly. I'm living in view of the reality and mysteriousness of
eternal life righteously. I want to be like God in soberly, righteously and
godly in this present age. Look at what grace does for the child of God.
Look at the wonder and the beauty of the amazing grace of God!
In Titus 2:14, we learned that through obedience to God and by His
grace, we become a unique, a special, or a peculiar people. Notice Titus
2:14. The Bible says of God our Savior Jesus Christ, "who gave Himself for
us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself
His own special people, zealous for good works." You know when I think
about Christians, I think about the relationship to God and the world. We're
a special people, what's that mean? God has chosen the church, has
chosen a plan of salvation, and has chosen a class of people, Christians.
That class is chosen special, unique. We're to proclaim the praises of Him
who called us out of darkness, into His marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9.
Then in Titus 3, as we think about Paul's continuing encouragement
to Titus to set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in
every city, Paul will now tell Titus that just like God created Christians for
good works, we as God's people must also have those works in our life.
Notice Titus 3:12-15. The Bible says, "When I send Artemas to you, or
Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis", goes on to say, "I have
decided to spend the winter there." He mentions, "Zenas the lawyer and
Apollos on their journey with haste that they may lack nothing." Then
notice, "And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet
urgent needs that they may not be unfruitful."
When we think about the Christian life, and what it really means to
follow God, it's about maintaining good works. It's about keeping an even
keel, level, trying to do right and meet urgent needs. That means to help
others and to try to do good in our community and to be zealous for what
God has called us to do in this life.
In the remainder of our time, let's now focus on the one chapter book
of Philemon. Philemon is all about mending broken relationships. A
problem had occurred between some Christians. This problem had a
background which would've caused difficulty in that day in age.
Let me mention some of the main characters in the book of Philemon.
There is Onesimus. Onesimus is a slave, or what we might think of today
as a servant. He sold himself to work for the home and the family of
Philemon. We're going to learn that he runs away to Rome, comes in
contact with Paul, obeys the Gospel, and now he's a beloved brother, a
faithful blood brother, as well as a servant. He was a convert of the Apostle
Paul while in Rome, verse 11 teaches us. There was still something that
needed to be fixed. Onesimus had stolen from Philemon. Verse 18 tells us
that he needed to return. He needed to make it right for stealing that time
and labor that owed to his master Philemon.
Then of course there is Philemon. Philemon was also a convert of the
Apostle Paul, verse number 18 teaches us. Actually, the church meets in
the house of Philemon according to verse number two. Very likely because
of his ability to own servant, and have the church in his home. He would be
a wealthy Christian, has a wife and son that are also mentioned here.
Philemon has been wronged by what is now brother in Christ, Onesimus.
Paul then teaches us about the path to reconciliation in mending
broken relationships through the book of Philemon. For example, the path
to reconciliation requires that we see the good before the bad.
Look at Philemon 4-7. Paul says in the beginning, in verse number
four to Philemon, "I thank my God, making mention of always in my prayers
hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and
toward all the saints that the sharing of your faith may become effective by
the acknowledgement of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of
the saints have been refreshed by you, brother." You know when we think
about how are these relationships going to be mended? When people have
a fight, when they have a disagreement, how are you going to find a
common ground? You've got to be thankful for them.
Paul is thankful for Philemon. He is most definitely thankful for
Onesimus. He has obeyed the Gospel. He has turned his life around. He is
actually aiding Paul there as well. Paul is thankful for both parties. Both
parties need to be thankful for each other. In everything give thanks, 1
Thessalonians 5:18. The Bible teaches in 1 Chronicles 23:20 that we're to
honor God with a spirit of Thanksgiving.
We need to sometimes see past the problem and see their eternal
souls involved in these problems that desperately need to be mended,
need to be corrected.
Then of course, you need to pray for them. We need to according to
verse number four, Paul says, "I have been praying for you." No doubt that
encouraged Philemon, and it encouraged Onesimus. For the effect of
fervent prayer of a righteous man overcomes much. Paul then recognizes
and acknowledges their love and faith in Christ Jesus. Look at their good
works. Look at the good things that they can do for God and for His
Kingdom. He recognized that their reputation and he makes his appeal to
reconciliation based on the appeal of Christianity.
Paul will go on to say in the book, "Yes, Onesimus has wronged you.
Yes he ran away. He's defrauded you, but perhaps this occurred look at the
prominence of God, "perhaps this occurred so that, he can learn the truth,
come back to you no longer as just a slave or a worker, but as a brother in
Paul puts God into the middle of this situation of reconciliation. Friend
for matters to be resolved, and for Christians to mend broken relationships,
we've got to see the good in each other. We need to be praying for it and
working toward it, and you've got to put God in the center. You've got to
realize there's something greater than me, there's something higher than
my emotions, there's something greater than me being defrauded- God and
Christians working together to be an example and to be a light. That is what
is so powerful in this context.
We think about both Titus and Philemon. They encourage us to live
faithfully to the Lord every day. In view of the grace of God and in view of
the power of the Gospel, friend we ask you today- have you obeyed the
Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Are you a Christian?
If not, why not become one today? Have you heard the word of God?
Romans 10:17. Do you believe Jesus is God's son? John 8:24. Would you
be willing to repent of sin? Luke 13:3. Make the great confession Jesus is
the Christ. The Son of Living God, Romans 10:10, and would you be
immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sins? Acts 2:38.
If you've never done that, we encourage you to as we each strive to
live faithfully in view of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Study Questions for: “Lesson: Titus-Philemon”
1. According to Titus 1:5, why was Paul writing to Titus?
2. According to Titus 1:5, what was he to appoint?
3. Christians live in hope of what according to Titus 1:2?
4. Can God lie according to Titus 1:2?
5. What does Malachi 3:6 say of God?
6. What should we seek according to Colossians 3:1?
7. According to Titus 1:16, how can you know if a person is faithful?
8. List the qualities of the different class of people listed in Titus 2:2-10.
9. According to Titus 2:11-13, what does the grace of God do?
10. What is the book of Philemon focused around?